9 Sep 2009
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all consider Cain to be first son of Adam and Eve. But this biblical figure, regarded by many as “from the wicked one,” is better remembered as the murderer of his brother, Abel, and more generally as the embodiment of evil.
So given its high-powered makeup, “Cain” seemed a fitting name for Nub creator Sam Leccia’s new brand. It is, after all, a “straight ligero” blend. And ligero is recognized as the most full-flavored of leaves due to their concentration of nutrients and direct exposure to sunlight at the top of the tobacco plant.
As Leccia told us at last month’s IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans, Cain is 82 percent—not 100 percent—ligero because any cigar comprised entirely of ligero leaves would inherently suffer from serious combustion deficiencies. Both the Maduro- and Habano-wrapped versions of this blend incorporate three different ligero tobaccos grown in the Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua.
The six inch by 50 ring gauge Habano Toro could be easily mistaken for a cigar with a more traditional proportion of ligero, seco, and viso tobaccos. It has an oily, clean-looking wrapper, a fairly solid feel, and pre-light fragrances of sweet cocoa and spice.
While Cain certainly doesn’t look like the progenitor of annihilation, appearances can be deceiving. The first few puffs are remarkably bold and densely packed with notes of peppercorn and dry wood. A background of leather and light sugar, though, adds depth.
To its credit, Cain turns out to be much more than just a heavy-handed bomb of strength and intensity. The Habano Toro is surprisingly smooth and complex, especially as it progresses past the midway point. This is likely the result of the triple fermentation process that Leccia employs to reduce the natural harshness of ligero tobacco.
So what we have here is a bit of a paradox. Leccia presumably created this straight ligero blend to satisfy the palates of enthusiasts of full-bodied cigars, yet he actively took steps to somewhat dilute the edge of ligero tobacco. The result is a blend that’s big on taste but not as explosive as some other sticks on the market (say, the 601 Green).
But I like this cigar for what it is—a rich $6-8 stick with more nuance and smoothness than meets the eye. I also like the fact that Leccia and Oliva include a 12-page pamphlet on Cain’s makeup, fermentation, and flavor in each 24-count box. Making such information readily available is sadly an industry rarity. So despite its occasional construction flaws and some bitter notes, the Cain Habano Toro earns four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys